What jumps, jump combinations, or lines do you find easiest?

In a lesson yesterday, I was just thinking I find bending lines easier than “simple” lines because you can adjust your arc to work with whatever canter you happen to have. I have a lot more misses on straight lines where you really need an adjustable canter to get over one jump to a good take off spot for the next. We also get much “cuter” and more photogenic jumps going over oxers, and I find my horse is less daring about leaving one out (and leaving me behind!) when the jumps are more filled out and wider. Just curious what others prefer and whether it has to do with your horse’s habits/characteristics on a course!

Love a single oxer all day. I know I’m weird.


I am a hunter turned event rider and now i constantly overthink and override straight lines and straight diagonals, and ride way better through a bending line or to a skinny :joy: I guess because I stop trying to make it perfect and just ride instinctively!

Is it cheating if I say a gymnastic?? :joy:


No, because I hate gymnastics!! They really stress me out for some reason.


With the disclaimer that my horse is 25:

Anywhere I can do the double add and have reasonable certainty the judge won’t care. :wink:

Give me a nice bending line set on 8-10 steps across the diagonal, and I will give you the world’s best 2’ pleasure horse, ears pricked, looking through the bridle with the same seriousness of purpose he brought to the Maclay, cantering down in as many steps as his horoscope has advised.

I love a gymnastic. There are no choices. Either you ride it correctly and set your horse up properly, or you don’t and you owe your horse another bag of carrots and you better get it right next time.

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I’ve got a horse with a big rolling canter, he is fairly adjustable though. I like the single oxers, especially in a derby or classic where we can have a little more pace and he can really show off.
Otherwise I find lines easy, or at least jumping out of a line :rofl: no matter how we jump in we can adjust to jump out nicely.
I have to tell myself not to pick to first jump, that’s a recipe for us to have an awful trip.

I like a short approach, particularly off a turn. Or something set in the middle of the ring. Really anything that doesn’t give my horse a chance to start thinking about how to get to the next jump as fast as possible. There’s also less time for me to make ten different dumb decisions, which usually results in us deciding that none of the decisions were correct and the best course of action is to veer sharply out to the right at the last possible second.

I also enjoy gymnastics, particularly ones I’m allowed to trot into. Plus bounces are fun…boing, boing, boing…

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Give me that line and a good canter and I’ll do it in 8! :grin: Well maybe not on my current horse just yet until he learns more of the hunter ropes. But that kind of line might be my favorite.

As someone who jumped my biggest classes on a very scopey stallion that sometimes made questionable decisions with his front end and didn’t take pressure well, I still like triple bars, Swedish oxers (where I could jump the “ramped” side) and the open water best as those tended to be my “free” fences and I still prefer a vertical in and an oxer out for combinations.

(Sorry, double post, removed the half finished one above.)

My horse would like everyone to know that he can also do it in 8 today, too. However, it is inadvisable to do so at 2’. It’s unnecessary. Perhaps it is even a safety issue. We should set the jumps back up for him to a height that invites a working pace and he will hunt down there in 8 steps. If we do not do this, we are the problem, not he.

I love any line that is designed to be ridden off the eye or as a function of the track and the canter. They’re useful in schooling because they allow me to set one thing and play with multiple tracks, paces, and lengths of stride without having to get off and reset fences.

Ok I’m outing myself as a greenie :frowning: What is the double add? Is that like a chip?

@danhelm441, The double add is where you add two strides to the specified number of strides in a line. If the line is supposed to be a 5 stride (based on how many feet at which it is set), then you would do 7 for the double add. 6 for the single add.

I don’t know why you have the frowny face there, this forum is great for all of us to continuously learn from each other :slight_smile:

When you “add” in a line, you take one more stride than the line measures. Most course designers set lines assuming an average stride length of 12’ and allow 6’ for take-off and landing, so in a line that measures 72’ between the jumps, the expectation is that the average horse should take 5 strides. If you take 6 strides, you’ve added one, or “done the add step.” There are reasons you may want to do this on purpose! For example, you are deliberately schooling to practice dynamics of the canter stride, so you may practice “doing the step” (riding the number of strides the line measures, in this case riding 5 strides between the jumps,) then the next time doing the add in 6, then the next time extending the canter and “leaving one out,” or riding 4 strides. When you’re competing, most of the time, your trainer will advise you to ride with a 12’ canter stride so that you ride the number of strides the line measures. There may also be times when the trainer suggests that you do the add. When you’re riding smaller jumps, for instance, some horses will produce a better jump, or have a better rhythm between the jumps, if deliberately ridden on the add step. (Remember that 6’ for take-off and landing? If you subtract some space from that because the jumps are smaller and the horse doesn’t need to make the same breadth of arc in the air, you then have that ground to cover in between the fences.)

The “double add” is when you put 2 extra strides into the line. If you do this unintentionally you’re usually riding too slowly with not enough forward momentum to allow the horse to flow down the line. Because of this, in the show ring, while there can be some latitude in novice classes for a team that consistently adds 1 stride down every line, the double add is judged as a mistake, because it’s usually produced by a rider failing to produce a canter with enough momentum to carry the horse off of the ground. At a larger fence height this can become a safety issue if the horse is not carrying enough impulsion to jump the jump! The joke I was making, at my own expense, is that my elder statesman horse has a shorter stride now, and there are times when we just aren’t going to make a nice rhythm up the line of small fences unless we add two extra steps. So, my favorite line in the show ring is now one that is set so long (upwards of 8 strides) and on a curve (bending line) that we can put in two extra strides and it won’t necessarily be judged as an error because in a line like that, there are variations on the “optimal track” between the two jumps that allow for quite a few different numbers of strides between the fences.

That’s fair. He sounds like a smart one :wink:

Thanks! That makes perfect sense. Here in the 18-24” beginner division, where I aim to beat all the children, we don’t talk as much about the intent of the course designer and the ideal striding as we do keeping one leg on each side of the horse and the butt in the middle.


That’s pretty important too. You tend to lose to a pigtailed 8-year-old if you do it differently!

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